Chairman calls for quick fix as leagues face big upheaval

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3D SPORTS Durham Coast League chairman Roy Simpson insists that the recent significant upheaval in club cricket needs to be resolved as soon as possible for the good of all in the region.

This week’s announcement by the North East Premier League that 10 clubs had accepted the invitation to form a Second Division in 2013 has left Durham’s other three senior county-based leagues with the problem of how to move forward.

Simpson, who has seen Seaham Harbour and Washington opt for the Premier, told the Echo: “We have a situation on current numbers whereby the Durham Senior League will have seven clubs, we will have 10 and the Durham County will have eight next year.

“Leagues and their clubs therefore face a monumental decision on how to move forward, and I use that word advisedly such is the importance of what happens next.

“It is my belief that any decision on the future must be for the benefit of all cricket in the county, and to that end we all need to get round the table as soon as possible.”

At the moment, the three leagues are required to submit their proposals on the way forward to the Durham Cricket Board by the beginning of next week, thereafter there will be a meeting of the three leagues in mid-May with an update given to all leagues by the end of the month.

As coincidence would have it, Seaham Harbour and Washington meet on Saturday with both feeling the “elevation” will prove to be a great opportunity to take their clubs forward.

And in terms of playing strength the match should prove to be an accurate barometer as both will have full teams in the field.

Murton’s early outright lead in the table came courtesy of the weather as they were the only winners in a severely curtailed programme last week, but it is likely that Saturday’s visit of Bill Quay will provide a stern test of their new credentials.

The return of Willie Gardner from holiday enables Quay to turn out a full team, but Murton have yet to name a replacement for the absent Ian King in their only change.

Hylton hope to get their season underway when they entertain Seaham Park, one of the lucky few to play last week. Kit Allan senior is missing for this one, with an opportunity handed to Liam Foster, while Park travel with an unchanged side to that which came within one wicket of victory at Easington.

Easington felt they contributed to their own problems in that game, including “gifting” 30 extras to the opposition, many of which were no balls.

They hope for an improved display when they welcome Silksworth and bring in opening bowler Michael Robson for the working Matt Scott.

Silksworth made a great effort to get the Murton game on last week and were rewarded with a return of zero points while eight other sides picked up five each in their called-off games!

After being roundly thumped, they want to forget that match and move forward, and they are pleased to have David Nield back in the side after finishing his football commitments.

However, Steve Wright has decided to retire from the 50-over format due to a persistent shoulder injury – a big blow to the club.

Elsewhere, Dale Butler returns to lead Peterlee in their game at Dawdon, who include Mark Ewart in their side, while Ian Male is missing from the Boldon CA dressing room as the champions head to unchanged Ryhope.